This place is good to stay for a quick layover between Sucre and Uyuni. We spent a total of two nights in this town for the sole purpose of seeing the once so famous mines of Cerro Rico that are still active today. We didn’t pre book a hostel in advance but found a great one called Casa Blanca that was 45 bolivianos each per night ($7 USD). There are multiple hostels and budget friendly hotels in this area so check out a few before making your decision. To find the hostel we took a minibus from the terminal we arrived at that was going towards the main plaza called 10 de Noviembre. It took asking a few people to help us find the right bus and when to get off but with kindness from strangers that is how we have gotten to many destinations. Don't be sky to ask for directions, many people are willing to help! The city itself is very small but has a great street food selection such as popcorn and hamburgers. Unfortunately, Matt got food poisoning from the street burger that cost less than $1 USD but I had the same one and was fine! If you are frightened of the street food there are many empanada and pizza shops to have dinner at.
On the night of our arrival we found ourselves there on the day of a mining parade held on by kids and adults of all different ages! There were fireworks and live music and was just a great surprise for a town we didn’t have any idea about! There was a contest for the best dance and outfits from each group and it was amazing to see an entire community all together celebrating miners for all of their hard work. I am not sure how many of these mining festivals there are per year but since many men in this town work in the mines and their parents and grandparents did as well they must celebrate frequently.
You will notice many tour companies all over the city that offer mining tours. We decided to go with a tour company recommended by a fellow traveler friend and we were so happy we went listened to him. Most companies offer a deal of 70 bolivianos for a tour but ours was 150.. a bit pricey I know. (By bit pricey that is $21 USD). The company's name is The Big Deal and the best part of this company is that they keep the tour groups small and you truly get an insight of what a miner's life is like especially since the 6 guys running this tour all used to be miners themselves. We got to see where the silver and other minerals are separated and cleaned at their processing factories. They took us into the active mines and talked to us about the history, conditions and lifestyle of miners. The guides did not hold back at all when they talked about the gritty details of the place. We walked around for almost two hours in these pitch black tunnels where the only light came from our headlamps we were provided along with our whole ensemble including boots and helmets. It is interesting to know this town was once so rich because of the mines and they depleted them to fast for their own good. It is a town in the middle of the desert so not much to do besides eat at one of the few stalls open at the Mercardo Central and spending your nights with friends at the hostel making dinner.
After the two lazy days in Potosi it was time to make our way down to Uyuni. From our hostel we caught a taxi for 5 bolivianos per person to the bus terminal. There are two bus terminals in the town and we were glad to have just spent $.50 cents more to take an easy taxi ride instead of the bus again with our huge backpacks. Buses are leaving constantly leaving all the time for this 4 hour ride to Uyuni. We spent 30 soles each ($4.50 USD after bartering it down a few dollars) and it was a completely easy ride with a great view entering into Uyuni where the Salt Flats soon awaited us. If you have the extra time and money I would say visit Potosi., This isnt a city where to much is going on but the tour itself taught me a lot of history of this country that I wouldnt have known otherwise if I missed it.
5) Rainbow Mountain, Cusco, Sacred Valley
6) Machu Pichu
1) Copacabana and Isla Del Sol
2) La Paz
1) San Pedro De Atacama
4) La Serena
5) Puerto Iquazu
6) Buenos Aires